Known as one of the Southeast’s most beloved and storied holiday travel destinations, Christmas at Biltmore began yesterday on Nov. 2, 2013, and will run through Jan. 12, 2014. Candlelight Christmas Evenings with nighttime candlelight tours of Biltmore House take place Nov. 9 through Jan. 4, 2014.
Raising the tree for the Christmas holidays to begin at The Biltmore Estate is a team effort. Many gather and used their man power and spirit to raise the glorious tree. The tree was cut a few days ago and transported to Biltmore on a trailer, but covered to protect it from the elements before the raising.
Biltmore’s elaborate Christmas celebration is modeled after the first time Biltmore’s founder, George Vanderbilt, hosted friends and family in his new home, Biltmore House on Christmas Eve 1895. A 35-foot tall Fraser fir presides over the holiday season in the Banquet Hall and guests are treated to a Victorian era-inspired display of holiday finery. This year, guests will see 56 trees throughout Biltmore House, each intricately designed and hand-decorated by members of Biltmore’s floral team. Miles of fresh garland and wreaths create a yuletide scent throughout the House, with around 1,000 red and white poinsettias in the Winter Garden and other areas.
Candlelight Christmas Evenings
Biltmore House takes on an enchanting atmosphere during Candlelight Christmas Evenings for a unique holiday experience. Choirs and musical ensembles perform Christmas music throughout the house while guests wander among the decorated rooms. The front lawn glows with a 55-foot tall Norway spruce, lit by 45,000-plus tiny white lights, and enhanced by the glow of more than 300 hand-lit luminaries.
Visits with Santa, decorating seminars, Gingerbread House Tea
In Antler Hill Village, Santa will visit with children and families from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 9 through Dec. 22, andalso on Nov. 29. Antler Hill Village links to the Winery, where visitors may take guided tours, enjoy free wine tastings and purchase wines from Biltmore’s diverse portfolio.
Biltmore’s floral arranging and gardening experts will conduct free, daily seminars at A Gardener’s Place gift shop from Oct. 28 through Jan. 12. Seminars are “Caring for Christmas Plants,” 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; and “Decorating with Christmas Wreaths,” 1 and 3 p.m.
Build your own gingerbread house with the hands-on assistance of a Biltmore pastry chef at the Gingerbread House Tea, 1 p.m. on Dec. 19, 20 and 21 at Inn on Biltmore Estate. Admission includes instruction, supplies and a special tea service filled with an assortment of tea sandwiches. Cost is $49 per person.
Holiday dining and lodging on the estate
Guests may enjoy a festive meal at Bistro, Deerpark Restaurant, Stable Café, Cedric’s Tavern or The Dining Room at Inn on Biltmore Estate. Guests may extend their stay at Biltmore’s four-star Inn, offering several packages for the holidays.
Christmas at Biltmore Schedule of Events
Christmas at Biltmore – Daytime self-guided visit through Biltmore House, gardens, Conservatory, grounds, Winery, Antler Hill Village Nov. 2-Jan. 12. http://www.biltmore.com/visit
Candlelight Christmas Evenings – Evening self-guided tours through Biltmore House, Nov. 9-Jan. 4, 2014. Reservations required; tour times vary, starting at 5:30 p.m. www.biltmore.com/visit/calendar/holiday.asp
Visits with Santa in Antler Hill Village – 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 9-Dec. 22, and Friday, Nov. 29. Free with estate admission.
Holiday Decorating Seminars – Oct. 28 through Jan. 12 at A Gardener’s Place. “Caring for Christmas Plants,” 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. “Decorating with Christmas Wreaths,” 1 and 3 p.m. Free with estate admission.
Gingerbread House Tea at Inn on Biltmore Estate – 1 p.m., Dec. 19 through 21. $49 per person and reservations required. 800-411-3182. www.biltmore.com/stay/special_events.asp
New Year’s Eve Gala at Inn on Biltmore Estate – Special Inn package with reception, open bar, five-course dinner with wine pairings, live entertainment, party favors, champagne toast at midnight, midnight fireworks (weather permitting), and private reception after midnight. Includes accommodations and more. Reservations required, 866-336-1245. http://www.biltmore.com/stay/inn/packages-specials/holiday-packages